Community, tell me your usability stories!

Started by Tynan, March 09, 2014, 10:20:30 PM

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To echo/flag a few things:

  • Meal prep & storage needs work, but this has been well covered.
  • Build order, both intra- and inter-task: Walls being built in such an order as to leave other sections incomplete/inaccessible; building a piece of furniture leaving a colonist stuck where a wall was due to be built and unable to get out; removing stone to build wall and ceiling collapsing. One sort of automatic/manual build schedule would be fab.
  • Recruited colonists standing "idle" without notice having arrested, rescued someone.
  • Not being able to move furniture without deconstructing/reconstructing.
  • Had a path finding issue where colonists would walk a long way outside to mine a patch, rather than use a shortcut through a prison room (built in a mined out passage through a larger section of rock).
  • I had to hunt on the forums to find out how to interact with passing travellers - a line of text to explain would help; more ways to interact would be fun.

Loving the game even as it is! Totally hooked...


Weren't we supposed to post stories and not like "This thing needs to be changed, also it would be nice to add"-type stuff? Anyways, another one!
This happened some days ago, i was playing and i also captured a traveller, but when i went to check on him, i noticed the colonist staying drafted, i quickly said "NOONONONO" and when i clicked on him, instantaneosly he decided to leave the colony and i had to arrest him, that was fun!... Kind of  :P


I must re-say what a fair amount of other people are saying, i have stopped using cooking in most of my colonies as it is WAY to much of a hassel everything from where to store food for quick access while it not looking terrible (though this isnt a BIG issue) to simply not being able to tell the cook "only make "X" amount of food". it has gotten to the point that i have pretty much stopped using the mechanic as much as i hate to and now just use nutrient paste dispensers.
There is my two cents on the issue that comes up in my colonies the most.
btw as always great work Tynan
The voices in my head tell me to burn colonists....

Pirx Danford

I don't know if I am lucky with my current colony in Alpha 2 or if this has been removed from the game, but in Alpha 1 this happened:
It was a day like any other day, well except that yet another group of raiders was eagerly preparing their attack.
Defending had become a routine and everyone was ready and expecting the assault.
When the attack started there were some raiders wielding molotovs and grenades spotted and I decided to order these to be shot first.
And just then, when trying to have - I believe her name was Kees - shoot at a molotov wielder I noticed the option to shoot was disabled for her.
Only then I realised that the trait unable of aggression (or some such) in fact meant that she could really not fight at all.
In the heat of battle I never before realized that she never shot her weapon at all.

Its not such a huge problem, but that was a situation that silently sneaked up on me.

Serrate Bloodrage

That is awesome Pirx..maybe she was really good at faking it? :)

If only my colonist could have 'personal time' to reduced stress =D


I had that in my last (Alpha 2) colony so it's still in the game, I guess you've just been lucky with your colonists so far. Incidentally, that last colony ended up mostly on fire after a shit run of luck with bandits and lightning, with a single non-violent colonist left desperately trying to put out the flames.  :o ;D

I do love that every play is totally different. That colony didn't last very long at all whereas my current one is 7 strong (having grown to 8 and then dipping back to 5) over 70+ days and has more resources than I know what to do with. Raider parties are now 5 strong with most of them wielding M14/16 or M24s so I don't anticipate it staying like that for long.
<insert witty signature here>


Usability problem:
An angry boomrat once cased a small fire in my base (inside home zone). But the colonists in the area did nothing. The fire grew and started to spread. Nobody put out anything. Finally, a colonist arrived to fight the fire. But - get this - he puts out a single tile of fire and returns to other work. WTF?!?!? The fire is spreading rapidly...

What really happened:
I had a somewhat large base and as fire spread each new tile of fire got "reserved" by a different colonists. Most were far away, and travel time allowed the fire to spread before the firefighter arrived. I had to turn off firefighting on many colonists and micromanage to get the fire under control.

Expected behavior:
Colonist right next to something needing to be done should just do it. Colonists need to think more about travel time.


Protip: If a colonist is in the middle of a task (which may be time consuming and/or a distance away) that's lower priority than what they should be doing, enlist them and then un-enlist them. This seems to reset their tasks as they will then start work on the highest priority task when un-enlisted. The two main advantages are that you can do this anywhere on the map and don't have to scroll to the location of the fire, and when you're there you don't have to find a tile that isn't already reserved by someone else.

From a usability point of view, I would expect certain high priority jobs (let's call them critical jobs) to interrupt any in-progress job regardless of its progress, so if, for example, a colonist is hauling some slag to a stockpile some distance away and a fire broke out they, would immediately drop what they're doing and tackle the fire (assuming that they were the closest or there are more tiles on fire than there are colonists to put them out). I suppose the only job that's really critical is firefighting, but I guess being able to set other critical jobs (using the overview) would be handy. Another use for this would be allow rapid recovery from a blight as you could set the growing task as critical and all of your growers would drop what they're doing and sow some plants, even if what they're doing is a higher priority than growing (like construction).
<insert witty signature here>


With Alpha 2. The emphasis has changed from preparing a good defence to growing enough food.

The growing areas seem to be useless. But they pretty much were in Alpha 1 so that not an issue. Hydroponic tables seem to grow potato's a lot slower and I am having a bit of trouble creating a surplus for trading. 

In my current game on Randy Random (I have 48 colonists btw) I decided to create a growing area to plant strawberry plants so that I could sell more potatoes. Bizarrely I started running low on food. This is despite having 10 people on growing! I cancelled the growing area and created another section for hydroponics and that stopped the rot, but I am not getting a surplus.

A trick I picked up is to watch the Oafs growing and stop them taking the first thing they grow to eat. Make them put in in a hopper instead and then they eat half of the potato instead of the whole thing.

Raids seem to have slowed to a trickle. Its rare that I even get attacks anymore and they never come in very large numbers? I was expecting 50 - 60 raiders. I am getting 10-20 of them.

However when a raid finally comes, a second raid group appears..and a third( and one time a forth!). While waiting for the second group to hit, several of my colonists have had a mental break and run straight into the raiders. Even during the firefight, this has happened.


Quote from: Torgaddon on March 12, 2014, 10:09:20 PM
A trick I picked up is to watch the Oafs growing and stop them taking the first thing they grow to eat. Make them put in in a hopper instead and then they eat half of the potato instead of the whole thing.

-same thing happens to me. pawns keep eating raw food despite having the NPD-hoppers or a cooking stove right in front of them.

-another thing i noticed is that, when electrical devices attach their power plugs to the wall, they don't seem to distinguish walls disconnected from the power grid, so i usually have to destroy that wall first, and sometimes i have to destroy the device as well, and then recreate it so that it would attach itself to the correct wall. but i think that happened in alpha 1, so i'm not sure if the same thing applies to current build.

-also, in the architect menu, it does not display the estimated amount of energy that will be used by an electrical device (it just displays the price). so i usually find out the hard way after things starts shutting down due to lack of power.


Hi there... old player returning for Alpha 2!  Not much of a forum-dweller, so apologies if any of this is redundant.

One main request above all others... I should be able to bulk-change the storage options on launchpads (or, rather, the storage beneath them... which I imagine will be even trickier) when I have multiple of them selected.  More than anything, that's what's bugging me at the moment - having to manually set every launchpad to not accept meat and do accept weapons.  Similar problem with graves accepting animal corpses.  I agree that a partial solution would involve defaulting graves to not permit animals, and would be a welcome tweak.

The food system is, as others have suggested, a little demanding.  I read in another thread that you intend to build in a "target storage amount" (to prevent endless production of meals).  This makes some sense.  However, assuming that my colony has access to meat occasionally, I will end up running two targets - one for simple meals and one for complex menus - potentially producing a surplus.  I'd want to keep both targets running in case the meat runs out, but I don't want surplus and the spoiling of food it brings with it.  So... would it be possible to set a target to produce, say, 10 surplus meals to the highest standard I demand (simple, fine or lavish)?  Essentially, you'd be rolling the targets into one, but it will intelligently change according to what ingredients are available?

Silver begins to take an extraordinary amount of storage space.  If you want to keep that silver available for trade, then you're looking at 4 launchpads per 7500 silver.  I'd like to see the stacking limit on silver increased to make it more manageable.  Currency shouldn't be that bulky in a game like this!

I would also agree that adding a visual indicator to the Communication Unit to indicate somebody's in range would be incredibly useful.  Don't add the indicator to the UI, add it to the sprite/in-game image if possible.  Like others have suggested, something similar could be done for the crafting stations.  Also, might help people if when setting the range on crafting station, the range was overlaid on the map (kinda like how the turrets show their max range).

I've also noticed that I get a lot of screen-stutter when a large number of my colonists are idle.  I'm assuming that's because it's generating random paths for them constantly???  Would also help if colonists assumed a pre-set path in a user-defined 'recreation zone' to prevent them from wandering off.

Oh, and...


One thing I've run into in Alpha 2 is that whenever there are no meals or nutrient paste available, people will grab raw food, which is fine. But I'd really like the ability to tell them not to grab the precious scraps of meats that I scrounged together so they could enjoy fine meals, but instead they should gorge themselves on potatoes.


We're getting off Topic!

Tynan have repeatedly stated that he wants specific stories of broken usability.

Not suggestions, not workarounds, not fixes. Let's all try to write shorter posts. Less is more!


I find that colonists are a bit bad at prioritising things.

Specifically they seem quite reluctant to do things to maintain their own mental health, and the current priorities system is a bit borked when it comes to essential and constant tasks like food growing.

Colonists will regularly expose themselves to lots of things they hate, even when it's perfectly practical for them to sit in the nice ornamental garden I built them until they feel better. But instead they insist on going outside near the corpse-pile from the last invasion in order to drag bodies around, then straight to digging in a filthy dark hole for four hours until they're near-starving.

It'd be nice if colonists would display a little aversion to unpleasant things unless I tell them specifically that I want them to do it, or unless they're happy and motivated and so won't suffer much from the hardship. If colonists are unhappy then it'd be nice if they would go do happy things for a little bit to cheer themselves up.

Growing food also is a bit iffy, because the colonists will regularly run backwards and forwards between two fields to harvest and plant alternatingly as space becomes available, depending on which task is higher on their priorities list. It'd be nice if they would just pick a field and work it steadily, then move onto another one, so they spend less time running between plots and more time working. Also if they'd wait for a field to become fully grown (or mostly fully grown) before harvesting it, unless I specify otherwise, rather than immediately running halfway across the map to harvest a potato because that one happens to be grown, then running all the way back to replant another space in a different field.


I apologize for not responding to this back when you made the post. This has been a BAD f-ing week.

My #1 has got to be needing to haul or repair, and it not being selected. It drives me up a wall.

I'm glad they'll have well described reasons, but I really want there to be an option right from the context menu to *HAUL ANYWAY!!!* One for like "haul x1" or "haul forever." Then I can go change it back later when whatever emergency is over.

I can think of more, but that's still my #1.

My #2 is "WHY WON'T THEY BURY THE BODY!!!" Are they not a hauler? Is there not a graveyard?! I can usually figure out the rest of the things in the game, like why aren't they building or why aren't they cooking chopping whatever. But why aren't they hauling drives me insane.

#3 is "WHY WON'T THEY BUILD A STONE FLOOR HERE!!!!!" I still haven't figured that one out. It drives me nuts.

#4+ is stuff my brother's brought up. Making stone walls confused the hell out of him for a while, and so did cooking. I've also read that selling stuff with the traders has confused a lot of people. I don't feel like making a million tiny training videos so I always just answer them as 1-offs. Having context would help. Like an ingame helper computer.

You go "help food" and it goes "help food cook, or help food paste dispenser" and you go help food paste dispenser and it shows you a diagram of how many spaces to leave and where to put hoppers and that it needs power and that it needs to be indoors. and then you build it, and it goes "good job" and closes out.

then you go like "help table" and it shows like "help small table help long table" and you choose and it does the same thing. And you can do that with all of them and it has the AI to know when you're done. It can even overlay like ask you "where do you want it?" and you click and it goes okay build this here, and you do it, and you just follow the step by step instructions.

It won't build it FOR YOU but it'll walk you through. Like you click X for where you want it and it goes "warning needs to be indoors" and you can go like "help indoors" and it goes "what do you want it for? food?" and you go yes and it asks where you want it and it goes you need like 15x15 for food dispenser and table and chairs and hoppers or something.

Man it's hard to type all this out my fingers are hurting. I hope this makes sense. Like mini paperclip tutorials that microsoft used to have.